Ep. 264: Building + Monetizing a Niche Food Blog with Rory Balkin of Donut Digest

If you’ve ever wondered how to start a blog from zero, you’re not gonna want to miss today’s episode.

I’m so excited to have Rory Balkin on the podcast because she’s sharing some fantastic advice about how to a niche that you’re super passionate about, start from zero, and turn it into a profitable side hustle.

Rory Balkin is a self-proclaimed donut enthusiast and founder of Donut Digest.

I’m not entirely sure how Rory and I connected – but considering that she’s from Texas I can only think that it has to be through the Thrive conference that I’ve spoken at a couple of times.

Which, by the way, if you’re a blogger or you’re thinking about blogging, you need to put this conference on your radar – it’s happening in Houston in April of 2020, and you can go to https://thrivetogether.blog/ and get on the email list to make sure you’re first to know when tickets go on sale because it’s an amazing conference.

Anyway, I started to connect with Rory on a deeper level when she joined my free 5 Day Freebie Challenge so that she could create a shareworthy freebie to help her grow her email list – which you’ll find out during our interview why having an email list for her niche donut blog is so, so important.

So let’s dive into my interview with Rory Balkin all about how to build and monetize a niche food blog.

Today we’re talking about:

  • Why Rory started a blog about donuts and how she built an audience from scratch.
  • Rory’s tactics for getting traction on Instagram.
  • Why Rory created the Dallas Donutfest, and the exact steps she and her partner took to bring it from idea to life.
  • How to build buzz + excitement for anything that you’re about to launch.
  • Why connecting with your audience consistently is so important!
  • How Rory monetized her love of donuts beyond blogging and the food festival.
  • Her best strategy for being more productive.
  • How Rory manages a newborn, a day job a blog and the donut festival.
  • Rory’s advice for someone who is thinking about starting a blog.
  • The belief Rory had to change about herself to get where she is today.

My favorite quotes from Rory:

  • “I want to make something of this business, and you really have to connect with people in real life, have that human connection, to make something of it!”
  • On starting her blog: “I don’t know what I’m doing, I just love donuts!”
  • “Relationships are super important.”
  • “I always want to help people.”
  • “It’s all about pulling out the unique and interesting stories from each place.”
  • “You learn as you go.”
  • “You just have to start, learn from those that are a little bit ahead of you, and then start to build those connections to forge those partnerships, create those events, whatever it is that can grow your following.”
  • “You’re not alone if you get stuck somewhere.”
  • “There are risks in business every single day. You have to put yourself out of your comfort zone.”

Resources mentioned in this episode:


Rory is a self-proclaimed donut enthusiast and founder of Donut Digest. Since 2016, she's offered donut guides, interviews, downloads and more to the Dallas-Fort Worth community.

In 2018, Rory expanded her services as a marketing consultant for several donut shops and hosted community events throughout the metroplex.

In 2019, Rory joined forces with fellow blogger @brandondoesdallas to create the first-annual Dallas Donut Fest. In her free time she enjoys walking her rescue pup, Winston, and cheering on the Philadelphia Eagles.

Connect with Rory:

Website: donutdigest.com

Instagram: @donutdigest